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Growth-factor target for memory drugs

An understanding of the mechanisms of memory enhancement is vital for broadening our knowledge of memory processes, as well as for potential clinical applications. Yet very little is known about it. Experiments in rats now show that the administration of insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II), a protein typically implicated in somatic tissue growth and repair, significantly enhances memory retention, promotes the memory proxy known as long-term potentiation and prevents forgetting. IGF-II acts by initiating a network of signalling cascades that can lead to synaptic potentiation and are most effective within a short time frame immediately following learning. IGF-II is therefore a potential target for modulating cognitive enhancement.

Nature 469, 7331 table of contents

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